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Development of Scaffolded Online Learning Activites for Different Stages of Learning

Info: 3700 words (15 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in Teaching

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Development of Scaffolded Online Learning Activites for Different Stages of Learning 


This outline develops a unit of scaffolded online learning activities to support students at different stages of learning.  The outline includes scaffolded activities to support the learning objectives of the unit, an analysis of how the strategies would be used for different student populations, and a description of how the students will engage in the material using the strategies and scaffolds.

Unit Overview

Unit:  Civil War and Reconstruction, 11th Grade

Expected Competencies at Completion of Unit: The student will demonstrate an understanding of how regional and ideological differences led to the Civil War and an understanding of the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on democracy in America.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to analyze issues that caused the civil war.

Students will be able to summarize the course and outcome of the Civil War.

Students will be able to explain the successes and failures of reconstruction.

Common Core Strategy: Grade 11-12: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary andsecondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an

understanding of the text as a whole.

Targeted South Carolina Standards and Indicators:

3.1- Evaluate the relative importance of political events and issues that divided the nation and led to civil war, including the compromises reached to maintain the balance of free and slave states, the abolitionist movement, the Dred Scott case, conflicting views on states’ rights and federal authority, the emergence of the Republican Party, and the formation of the Confederate States of America.

3.2- Summarize the course of the Civil War and its impact on democracy, including the major turning points; the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation; the unequal treatment afforded to African American military units; the geographic, economic, and political factors in the defeat of the Confederacy; and the ultimate defeat of the idea of secession.

3.3- Analyze the effects of Reconstruction on the southern states and on the role of the federal government, including the impact of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments on opportunities for African Americans.

3.4.- Summarize the end of Reconstruction, including the role of anti–African American factions and competing national interests in undermining support for Reconstruction; the impact of the removal of federal protection for freedmen; and the impact of Jim Crow laws and voter restrictions on African American rights in the post-Reconstruction era.

Pre-requisite Skills:

Students should have knowledge of abolitionism, events and issues that led to the Civil War -including slavery in the territories, states’ rights, the election of Abraham Lincoln and the nullification crisis compromises over westward expansion, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision.

Students should have prior knowledge of the Civil War and the strategies used by the North and the South in South Carolina. They should know about significant turning points and the role of African Americans in the war.

Students should know of the devastation of the Civil War and its impact on the lives of South Carolinians and the social, political, and economic effect of the war on the United States.  They should know that Reconstruction had both successes and failures.

Students should know about the development of federal Reconstruction policy, the effects of Reconstruction on African Americans, the role of subversive groups and the end to federal protections. They should know about the development of Jim Crow laws in the post- Reconstruction era. 

Students should have a basic understanding of how to identify, analyze, and evaluate primary source documents and historical curriculum.

Students have a basic understanding of how to cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole (South Carolina Social Studies Standards).

Students will need access to a computer, working internet, a video camera, and microphone to engage in online activities with teacher and peers during a synchronous teaching session.

Students must understand the protocol and expectations for interacting and communicating with teachers and peers through chat, microphone, and whiteboard activities.

Students must have a working knowledge of how to use all tools in the synchronous session platform.


Student Activities

Learning Objective #1: Students will be able to summarize the course and outcome of the Civil War. 

This is an asynchronous, flipped learning opportunity, and anticipatory activity. Prior to the live sessions, students will watch “Crash Course History: The Civil War, Part 1” (Crash Course). Students will be given a graphic organizer to help organize terms/phrases/events that will be key in their ability to understand the outcomes of the Civil War and introduce them to key details from standards, improve comprehension, and synthesize information.  This activity will introduce students to important vocabulary and identify main ideas aligned to the learning objective that will be discussed in the upcoming synchronous session.  We will begin our synchronous lesson with a class discussion of the flipped instruction video and Share Out of graphic organizer notes. Supporting Research for this activity aligns with Psychological Individual Constructivism.  This learning experience focuses on the how individuals learn by mentally organizing and reorganizing information. By connecting new experiences to prior knowledge that is already understood, people build a new base of knowledge about the topic being learned.  John Dewey reasoned that if students learned by first building their own knowledge, then teachers could adjust the curriculum to fit students’ prior knowledge (Seifert, K. 2011).  This activity will provide a visual, auditory, and written component to the learning process to provide an opportunity for each of these learning styles to be utilized and students may watch or review the video at their pace; such as slowing down the video or reviewing to gather the information at their own pace. 

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An article from Teacher.org titled “6 Questions to Tackle When Engaging Student Learning”, the author and school principal Jon Konen discusses the importance of student engagement in today’s classroom and the impact it has on learning.  He goes on to discuss 6 areas educators can focus on to improve engagement.  One of his first points is to find something that sparks student interest and hooks them to the topic (Konen, 2017).  By assigning students this video prior to our synchronous time, they are able to engage with the content early, hear and see the information from multiple resources, and their first experience with the content is a resource that will peak their interest. 

The effectiveness of this strategy will be measured by reviewing data in a few different areas.  First, the number of students who actually engage in the video and graphic organizer prior to the synchronous session.  As stated above, the power of this assignment is allowing students interaction with a different resource of information prior to time in class.  If students are not completing the assignment correctly, it is not an effective strategy.  Second, it will be important to see what knowledge the students are able to attain through this assignment.  It is meant to be a basic introduction to a learning objective, however, if students are unable to gain the necessary understanding of the content, it is not an effective strategy.  This strategy has the ability to serve all students.  Each student is watching individually and taking notes on what they are learning.  Students who need the most support are able to use the graphic organizer to guide their notes.  More advanced students have the same structure for taking notes, however, they have the opportunity to make connections, build on prior knowledge, and engage with the content on a level that best suits them.  In addition, students are able to see, hear, and write about this information to support the learning process with this information.  Seeing what prior knowledge or basic understanding students have after this activity will allow the teacher to determine how to structure grouping and scaffolding for the remainder of the unit.   

Learning Objective #2: Students will be able to analyze issues that caused the Civil War.

  This activity is synchronous with a focus on the students’ ability to understand important vocabulary, make connections between key ideas, and analyze information.  The title of the activity is Vocabulary, $2 Summaries.  This activity is completed once a scaffolded review and follow up of the anticipatory activity has occurred and direct teaching instruction has been completed.  It will build on the knowledge gained from those activities. 

$2 Summaries is an activity that helps students to learn the relationships between words they are learning.  Each vocabulary or context word worth 10 cents.  Students will write a $2 summary about issues that caused the Civil War. Students are thinking about the words, their meanings, and their connections to the historical event being studied; therefore, building new schema on the learning objective.  Students at all levels can benefit from this activity as it can be scaffolded by giving students specific words related to the learning that they must include in their summaries or adjusted to any amount of money.   Depending on student need, this activity may also be scaffolded as an individual or class activity.  It could easily be structured with the steps of the Me, We, You strategy.  This activity can be finalized with a Pair Share in break-out rooms and read-out in whole group to discuss and review the differences in how students used the vocabulary words.

According to Seifert’s review of social constructivism in Educational Psychology, Piaget called each mental representation of a concept a schema.  Schema was not only a concept, but a mixture of vocabulary, actions, and experience related to the concept.  Piaget also recognized the roll of others in this learning process and he referred to this as social transmission. However, he was more interested in what children and youth could figure out on their own and not how other could help them figure out (Seifert, K. 2011).  In a recent study conducted to analyze theories, research and practice about vocabulary instruction, a group of instructors in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University explained that social interactions, such as the ones referenced by Piaget, activate schema and support the building of new knowledge; all being facilitated by vocabulary (Moody et al., 2018). Lacking vocabulary knowledge impacts a student’s ability to make self-to-world connections and important inferences for learning.  Collaborative scaffolding provides worldly knowledge that goes beyond recalling meanings (Heilman, A.W.; Blair, T.R.; Rupley, W.H. ,1961).  Focusing on vocabulary instruction allows students to grow their schema about the learning objective and make connections that will last beyond this assignment.

The $2 Summaries activity engages students by challenging them to analyze details of the curriculum they are learning and make connections between the key ideas and vocabulary that play an important role in the schema developed during the learning process.  They are actively creating something with what they are learning and are challenged to correctly use the information as they summarize the learning objective. This strategy allows the teacher several ways to check for student understanding and to see if the learning objective is being mastered.  The teacher is able to see if the key ideas and vocabulary are being used correctly and identify the students’ understanding of those terms.  By the connections students make to summarize the topic, teachers are able to see if the student can successfully analyze the curriculum they are learning.  All student populations will benefit from this engagement strategy.  Not only will this allow students to write and connect on their level of knowledge and skill, but the teacher will have the opportunity to easily review at what level the student has mastered the ability to analyze the information and plan for future scaffolded or differentiated learning activities.  Bloom’s taxonomy provides a structure for engagement that focuses on multiple levels of practice. Bloom believed that the way we question or formulate tasks for students can be at varying levels of complexity. Teachers can use this taxonomy to address, connect, and engage students in topics at varying levels (Konen, 2017).  The learning objective for this activity is to analyze issues that caused the Civil War.  The Analyze level of Bloom’s Taxonomy encourages the learning activity to focus on drawing connections, organizing, and comparing and contrasting information.  This activity aligns with those guidelines in order to allow students to achieve mastery of the learning target. 

Learning Objective #3: Students will be able to explain the successes and failures of Reconstruction.

The Color Re-Read and Venn Diagram Follow-Up activities would be conducted synchronously with the purpose of analyzing a primary source text focused on the details of Reconstruction.  Students will analyze the passages for details of the successes and failures of Reconstruction.  The activity will be scaffolded to allow the teacher to model and students to practice the Color Re-Read strategy.   This type of scaffolding will support students that need additional help with reading or locating details and the structure of the activity will motivate all students to complete the activity successfully.  It will allow students to share their knowledge of the topic with others and contribute to a more complete understanding of the information. Students will read the text three times. Each time they read, students will be reading for a different purpose and highlighting those details in different colors.1st Read-Teacher Model: As a class, we will read with the purpose of finding key details about Reconstruction.  We will highlight each of these details in green.  2nd Read-Partner Read: With a partner, read with the purpose of finding key details about the successes of Reconstruction.  Both partners should highlight the same details in pink.  3rd Read-Individual Read: Alone, read with the purpose of finding key details about the failures Reconstruction.  Highlight each of those details in yellow.  To finalize our lesson and master the learning objective, we will gather as a class to complete a Venn Diagram of the successes and failures of Reconstruction. 

According to the article “Instructional Scaffolding to Improve Learning” written by the Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, Hogan and Pressley (1997) have identified a list of successful strategies that will impact student learning when correctly implemented.  The main focus should be to provide scaffolded instruction in small steps; start with what they do know, create a new task they cannot do on their own, provide scaffolded support, fade or remove the scaffold so students can master on their own (Hogan and Pressley, 1997).  This focus is why I chose a Color Re-Read for this learning objective.  The majority of students struggle with feeling confident in their ability to analyze primary sources.  Providing these supports builds that confidence and encourages motivation for success

This activity engages students by helping them pull specific details from a text; which can be a difficult task for many students.  It helps them to delineate between focus areas and supporting details.  This strategy makes it easy for them to refer back to the text and find ideas to support thoughts or opinions during further discussion or learning.   Color reading can be very helpful when students need some guidance with these skills.  The learning objective for this activity is to explain the successes and failures of Reconstruction.  Because this activity is scaffolded as a Me, We, You activity with a follow up Venn Diagram activity to show the successes and failures of Reconstruction, teachers will know this activity was effective when students are able to provide details for the arguments around success and failure of the movement.  The evidence will be in the Venn Diagram submission.              This activity engages all populations as it allows the support needed to guide those students who need additional help in pulling details from the text and the end goal is for all students to be able to identify the text details independently.  The class review with the Venn Diagram allows students to check their answers and discuss reasons behind their decisions to support the learning process.

In Social Studies, the ability for a student to successfully identify and explain details from the reading are an important skill; especially from primary sources.  This activity will allow the teacher to see where students need additional support with the skills in future instruction. This strategy works well for reluctant and struggling readers because it breaks close reading and annotation down into bite sized pieces and keeps the students engaged and thinking critically for longer periods of time. As Maryellen Weimer from The Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning at the University of California wrote most research on engagement all comes back to these three premises: behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively engaged in the learning process (Weimer, 2016).  Activities such as Color Reading allows students the opportunity to practice being persistent with learning a skill, understand the value of the practice they are doing, and engage in a learning activity that requires strategy and skill; allowing them to meet all three of the criteria from Weimer’s research.

As a teacher, the goal is to ensure student mastery for all students.  As Konen continuously discusses in his article about tackling student engagement in the classroom, exemplary teachers use multiple strategies to scaffold, differentiate, and engage students.  They implement strong activities, tasks, and assignments that sparks students’ interests and focus on student needs (Konen, 2017).



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